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Olbia is the gateway to the beautiful pearly white beaches of the northeast coast and the glittering Costa Smeralda. This is where jetsetters, film setters and the ‘glitterati’ arrive to indulge in la dolce vita Sardinian-style. Despite its Greek name meaning ‘happy’, Olbia’s origins were Phoenician before the town became a Roman trading post. Olbia used to be a little fishing village but has now grown to become Sardinia’s busiest ferry port, complete with an International airport. The countryside is cloaked in aromatic wild herbs, the macchia, and the surrounding sea sparkles in every hue of electric blue.
Departures to Olbia from arlanda

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Do and see
If you arrive in Olbia by air, only a 10 minute drive from the airport will bring you to the central Piazza Regina Margherita. Running off it, the cobbled lanes in the old part of town around the Corso Umberto are full of good restaurants and pretty piazzas to linger in over a drink. In the early evening this is the place for the passeggiata when everyone struts and preens to see and be seen. From here, past the level crossing and the railway station, you come to the town’s top tourist sight, the Basilica di San Simplicio.
Basilica di San Simplicio
Olbia’s top sight is this medieval Pisan-Romanesque church, hewn out of Galluran granite. In the apse there are two 13th-century frescos, the left-hand one depicts San Simplicio, the patron saint of Olbia. The Festa di San Simplicio, Olbia’s biggest festival, is celebrated for three days in mid-May.
Isola Tavolara
Isola Tavolara is a little island located southeast of Olbia and is dominated by its imposing rock towering over 564 metres high. This is the perfect spot for nature lovers, divers and for soaking-up the rays on the beach of Spiaggia Spalmatore.
Olbia is the hub for excursions to the northeast and its fabled coast. Buses leave just off the Corso Umberto in all directions, all within easy reach for just a few euros. The town beach is the Lido del Sole, but far better is the white beach of Pittulong that is located 5 kilometres away with dreamy views across to Tavolara Island.
Costa Smeralda
The Costa Smeralda extends 10 kilometres between the Golfo di Cugnana and Golfo di Arzachena, and has an extraordinarily beautiful 56 kilometres coastline. This is the "millionaire’s" playground.
Porto Cervo
Porto Cervo is the only real town and the Smeralda’s ’capital’, disguised as a Mediterranean fishing village with a curious mix of troglodyte-Moroccan style buildings. This is a pleasant place to stroll, people-watch and to window shop. The best time to visit is at sunset to take your part on the glittering stage of the beautiful people.
Beaches on the Costa
There are so many beaches to choose from including Spiaggia del Principe, Liscia Ruja Beach and Capriccioli, all famous and fabulous on this dreamy coastline. Just in case you have left your luxury yacht at home, you can beg or borrow use of a boat. The price will not be a steal, but will be well worth it.
Archipelago della Maddalena
Dreamy islands with Caribbean-blue seas make up the archipelago on the northeast coast, near the Costa Smeralda. Rocks hewn over thousands of years characterise the landscape. The only inhabited island is La Maddalena itself from where there is a causeway to Garibaldi’s island, Caprera. There are boat trips to see five of the other main islands, including Spargi and Budelli with its glorious pale pink beach, Spiaggia Rosa.
La Maddalena
Stroll around this town full of character, cobbled streets and piazzas, and enjoy the decorous passeggiata along the main street, Via Garibaldi. There are also some good restaurants around the squares and pleasant bars in which to linger over a long, cool drink. The Museo Diocesano is located in the heart of town and has some fascinating exhibits, including two silver candlesticks and a crucifix gifted by Lord Horatio Nelson.
Aeroporto Olbia Costa Smeralda
Aeroporto Olbia Costa Smeralda is located 5 kilometres southeast of Olbia. The airport buses, numbers 2 and 10, will take you to the city centre and depart approximately every 20-30 minutes. The last departure is at 11.40pm with bus number 10. Tickets are available on board or from the ticket machine in the terminal. The journey takes about 10 minutes. +39 800 191 847 www.aspo.it The taxi rank is open 24 hours and can be found in front of the arrivals terminal. +39 0789 227 18 / +39 0789 691 50 Renting a car at the airport i easy. You can find car rentals near the arrivals terminal. +39 0789 564 444 info@geasar.it
Public Transport
Olbia is easy to discover by foot and the surrounding areas can easily be reached by renting a car. Sardinia has an extensive network of buses which link villages, towns and beaches. The main operator ARST has a good service covering routes from between the major cities. For bus routes and timetables you can visit www.orariautobus.it.
There are regular ferries from Palau to the island of Maddalena operated by two main companies, Saremar and Enermar. There are also frequent services between Santa Teresa di Gallura and Corsica’s Bonifacio operated by Saremar and by Moby Lines. Saremar www.saremar.it Enermar www.enermar.it Moby Lines www.mobylines.it
Trains in Sardinia are rather slow and the rail network is limited. Trenitalia runs most of the network and the longest trip is from Olbia to Cagliari. The train station in Olbia is easy accessible with buses 2 and 10 from the airport.
Taxis are generally inexpensive. There are cab ranks in the larger towns and villages and your hotel can book cars for you. The meters should determine the fare, and if not, agree on the price in advance. Antonello Sergnesi +39 335 438236 www.taxiolbiaportorotondo.it TAXI MURRAI Gavino +39 337 817093 www.taxiolbiaaeroporto.it
Look for the yellow and blue sign to find a post office in Olbia. Stamps can be bought at post offices and tobacconists marked with a “T”. Post Office:
Pharmacies are called Farmacie and are normally identified by an illuminated green cross. If closed, there is usually a notice on the door with the address of the nearest open Farmacia, day and night. Farmacia Accogli Dr. Pasqualina:
Country code +39 Area code: 0789 (Do not omit the zero for the area code)
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